Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fraud at the Pentagon

Though the US military's budget has doubled since 2000 to more than $600 billion annually, the amount of auditors checking for fraud and abuse has stayed essentially flat, says Wired. Over $150 billion each year goes unaudited, and each auditor is responsible for reviewing the mind-bogglingly high amount of over $2 billion per year. From the article:

Crime – and even threats to national security – have also been allowed to flourish, thanks to the staffing shortages. Working with other agencies, the DOD IG's criminal investigators have brought in "770 criminal indictments, 644 convictions, and over $3.14 billion in criminal, civil, and administrative recoveries." But many other incidents are going unchecked. "Technology/Munitions theft and diversion crimes cannot be adequately investigated allowing these items to fall into the hands of those that would do the United States harm," according to the report.

"There have been massive holes in oversight for years, and in these shadows, criminals have been ripping off taxpayers and depriving our soldiers by wasting and stealing money and supplying defective equipment," Project on Government Oversight investigator Nick Schwellenbach tells Danger Room.

The DOD IG's office has certainly stayed busy. In just the last few months, the DOD IG caught a Philippine corporation bilking $100 million from the military health care system; nabbed a trio trying to bribe their way into drinking water contracts for troops; busted an Air Force general who tried to steer a $50 million deal to his buddies; and launched investigations into the Pentagon's propaganda projects and the youthful arms-dealer who sold tens of millions of dollars' worth of dud ammunition to the government.

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